I have a client that wants a picture of store shelves filled with candy and pop. I would personally take the photo and the photo would be printed without edits and used as the front of a counter for a corporate event at a hotel. The event would go on for 3 days.

If I go to a store and get permission to take the photo, can I legally use that photo for a graphic?

  • This photo will contain logos of real products.
  • I will not be selling the photo.
  • I am located in the United States.
  • I don't know US law, on French TV it is usual to see programs with images inverted horizontally to avoid logos/product hidden announcements on the background. You always have Photoshop. – user120647 May 29 '18 at 21:27

If you get permission from the store and make sure your photograph doesn't contain specifically recognizable candy brands, I think you're safe--but I am not a lawyer.

Because the candy store is private property, you should get written permission from the store--though if you're photographing a display window that opens into a public-property street that's less necessary but still the right thing to do.

And if your photo includes copyrighted or trademarked material, like candy logos or a particularly recognizable candy shape, then your client could get be the target of litigation (and in turn would pass liability on to you unless your contract is amazing) for implying affiliation or sponsorship. (This is why a lot of "candy" images show generic ball/drop candies.)

Avoid brands, get permission. Or to be safest, buy a stock photo from a reputable service.

  • I think the key is recognizable and how prominent the logo is shown. I wonder how other medias like movies and TV shows deal with this. Take a look at the movie Logan where they're at a gas station - youtu.be/oqzo5vurD4M?t=56s – AndrewH May 29 '18 at 23:19
  • After looking a various stock websites, I think the only way to use an image with a logo is for editorial use. I don't think you can use anyone's logo without permission for commercial use. – AndrewH May 31 '18 at 0:05

Short Answer: NO

Long Answer:

Probably not, but ask a lawyer.

Keep in mind that brands have branding guidelines, including how to use the brand, and where. So you'll need permission from each and every brand displayed in your photo.

Now, to be honest, in most cases, brands won't care. After all, it's free publicity. So many clients will take a stab knowing brands won't care, and in most cases where they care, they'll only request you to take off the photo.

In the case above, you can just tell the client you can do what s/he wants, but you can take responsibility. Much better if you can get a signed consent.

But if you want to be away of trouble, please refer to the short answer.

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